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Will Thailand continue to attract expats who wish to retire here?

Hector · 7 · 204

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Online Hector

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Just recently there have been a number of similar questions posed (eg Thaiger, AseanNow aka ThaiVisa.com) and I imagine someone with more time on his or her hands than me will come up with some sort of analysis of the myriad of responses.  Of course, it is a purely academic exercise as nothing will come of it, but for those of us who have lived here for a while it is nonetheless an interesting topic and all of us have views on the subject.  So as a brief respite from looking at copied Covid 19 statistics on the Forum, I thought it might exercise a few readers' grey cells to let the rest of us know what they think on this topic!
I came here almost 25 years ago to work, retired a few years later and stayed here on an 'O' visa retirement working unofficially for the next dozen years. I had no particular ties to or assets in my home country, my children were grown up, I liked the country and the people, my pension went further and I had things to do. So I stayed and have been married to a Thai for 16 years. 
If the situation in the country now had prevailed when I decided to retire here I would not have done so. In the intervening period, the amount of Baht from my pension has roughly halved, while the cost of living has increased (as everywhere). I discovered (as others have done) that whilst the Thai can be a charming and generous person, the Thai smile hides an undercurrent of unexpected traits; they are quick to take offence, bureaucratic to a fault and xenophobia abounds.
Immigration is the burr under the 'alien's' saddle and and features differing requirements between offices, sudden changes to rules and exasperating endless niggles. It must be one of the few countries in the world to require expats to report their presence to Immigration every 90 days. I should only add that personally I have never had a problem with Immigration or been asked for tea money as many others have.
Do I think that foreign retirees will continue to flock here? No, I don't; at least not until Thailand gives long term expats some basic rights - eg to purchase house and/or land -  Immigration gets its act together, the Covid inspired requirements for coming to this country are eased and there is a government that is actually elected by the Thai people that makes a stab at being democratic! The economic situation needs to improve a great deal and finally foreign residents/retirees are recognised for the financial and practical value of what they bring here. All of which is so much wishful thinking.


Online Roger

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Hi Hector and thanks for your thoughtful post - for me the decision to come to Thailand was a fair one when I took it 11 years ago, but now, for a variety of reasons, I admit to planning a return to the UK in the next year or two.

If I may comment, I notice some disenchantment with Thailand in your own posts. I frequently see examples on other Forums with the response to such feelings being, well if you don't like it, 'GO HOME! ' - (not saying that applies to you). Of course, there are frustrations in Thailand, (as anywhere else) and whilst I post about them sometimes myself from time to time, I hope I haven't slipped into a general cynicism about Thailand OR the Thai people themselves - I try not to give them reason to take offence and almost invariably, I receive kindness, interest and courtesy in their response to my aged presence. As for bureaucracy and xenophobia - well that's the same anywhere. I lived in Africa for some years and believe me, Thailand's Immigration Dept compares very well. As an aside, I wonder what many foreigners coming to the UK feel about the experience !

You are right, those coming to Thailand have had to endure falling exchange rates over the last 15 years, (but at least they might have paid for property at B70 rather than the B46 I paid). As for living costs, I think most of us live well here on our pensions, at least much better than if we were in say, the UK.

I agree on this and IMHO it is a scandal that the Expat in Thailand cannot own a house in Thailand, particularly as Thais CAN purchase property in the UK. Why the UK Govt. have not brought pressure to bear about this rank injustice I just do not know  >:(

Lastly, thanks again to Eagle for posting the daily Covid spreads which for me are very good to see on the full screen. I have interests in locations other than my own. So no 'respite' needed from that. The Forum would be better IF there were more replies. discussions and new topics but with other social media rampant, these are quiet times here. I miss 'Joke of the day' but enjoy the football and all the other posts. I note it's extremely useful to have a source to refer to for help and advice sometimes !

So well done the Forum and it's polite disagreements. I think we should be careful to avoid disparaging the posts we do have, (except that is, in the case of the Russian (?) trolls we have seen !!!! )

ATB
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online Coolkorat

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I don't know if a matter of perception but it seems a number of countries are making the traditional expat life more difficult. Malaysia, which promoted the MM2H visa programme, is now revising the criteria. Is Covid (and the potential for future Covid-type events) the catalyst? Perhaps there is a vacuum into which countries like Burma and Laos step, assuming the political landscape changes? I can only see Thailand appealing to a small number of digital nomads, but given being nomadic is almost impossible that is not sustainable.

I think you are far from alone in planning a return Roger. But expats planning to return might be faced with a nasty shock if they plan to buy property. I hate to think what a decent property in your native Devon is currently fetching. A 'first time buyer' property here on the IOM is now something listed at £320k. If people cannot get onto the property ladder the progression ceases. We must surely be at that point with this situation a ticking timebomb.


Online Roger

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CK I read that the UK's average house price is now about GBP260K. It's a daunting sum for new buyers of all ages   ::)

Just why this barmy BJ Govt introduced an extended stamp duty reduction escapes me. I would have thought that enhancing already ridiculous house prices was the least of the UK's needs in recent times   >:(   (one perhaps for another thread).

But you are right, it's a relevant and significant consideration for any intending to return to the UK - particularly apt to Devon and evenmoreso, to my beloved Cornwall.

(ATM staying at my Son's place in Carlyon Bay  ;D  )
''If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough'' - Albert Einstein


Online rdrokit

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I came over here fulltime in Feb 2007. If I had to do it now I might not have made the same decision. I paid 1.8 million for my house (wife's house). The same house is now selling for over 3 million baht. I paid off the mortgage in 4 years which would not be possible currently.
Also, Thailand would have to appeal to someone who can tolerate the heat. Many people who move here from cooler climate can not take the heat. I was brought up in southern Florida in the US so the heat does not bother me. I hate cold weather.

It use to be inexpensive to live here and that appealed to many who moved here. It is not that inexpensive currently but I think that is the same no matter where you live. Inflation is worldwide. If I moved back to the US I could not afford to live on the same level as I do here. Who would give a home loan to a 75 year old retired disabled veteran. Too late for me to start over. I will be spending the twilight of my life in the land of smiles.


Online Robert

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I arrived on January 1st, 2007. Would I also do things differently? Yes but cannot change anymore so why think about it?
We (wife of course) bought some land and start building house in January 2008. Finished in August 2008, total cost around 3 million, now worth  ???
Everything in name wife of course, if things would go wrong I do not bother. I will simply pack and leave and take my loss. Sofar not happened, haha.

Besides moving back to my home country and not be able to get a mortgage (I am same age as rdrokit thus 75) I think persoannly so many things have changed there that I would not feel comfortable anymore. Have been back quite a few times in the past years but only as a holiday. Always wanted to go back home which is in Thailand. So I will also spend the rest of my life in LOS. Still happy here  ;D ;D ;D


Online caller

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I have been here 7 years now and still feeling good about it, bar the vermin that run this Country. I hope something forces them out sooner rather than later.

Still have a house in the UK should a bolt hole be needed.